Things to do Napa: Oxbow Public Market

On this day I was in sushi paradise.

Previously I wrote about my conversation with the Mayor of Napa about floodwalls, current issues facing the city (plus there’s a video), and shared my “Yellow Chair” experience at Morimoto – a sort of viral social media phenomena. Plus: 10 things to see and do in downtown Napa.

Napa Food and Wine ChroniclesTasting wine can build up a healthy appetite. Next time you’re in Napa, after a morning of making the rounds at the tasting rooms, you might want to zip downtown for lunch (dinner is also a great option here, but that’s another story for another time). There are many wonderful choices here, including one of my favorites, the Oxbow Public Market. Located next to another must-see hot spot– the famous Gott’s Roadside, a cult burger joint- you can get here with a nice, leisurely stroll over the bridge which crosses the Napa River. Don’t forget to stop and enjoy the views!

Yes, you’ve likely seen something like Oxbow before. It’s a large building with lots of dining and shopping choices. But a typical food court this is not. For one thing, many of the ingredients are sourced within a hundred miles, meaning that your meal is going to be very fresh and hopefully, as was the case for me, exploding with wonderful flavors. Prices tend be higher than your typical on-the-go destinations. I’d suggest budgeting about $20-25 per person for lunch. The splurge, dear friends, comes later, where you’ll want to go all out at La Toque, or Morimoto, or Bottega or…

On to lunch.

Oxbow Public Market is next to Gott's, another favorite.
Oxbow Public Market is next to Gott’s, another favorite.

Clint chose the duck tacos with side salad from C CASA. Again, this was the perfect example of why Oxbow is a worthwhile stop. The duck (along with chicken) are rotisserie roasted, and you’ll know right away when you dive in. One tip: be careful with the the hot sauce. I think Clint overdid it with the spicy orange sauce. Then again, that’s his thing, but it made it slightly difficult for this culinary girl to get her sample on.

Artisanal and local foods and wines are sold here by the purveyors.
Artisanal and local foods and wines are sold here by the purveyors.

On this day, I was in the mood for sushi. Although there are fresh fish stands here (including Hog Island Oyster Company), I couldn’t find a sushi joint. I did, however, score big time. In the end I enjoyed an incredible sushi lunch. Here’s how I did it. Head on over to Kanaloa Seafood (owned by two former marine bioligists). Here they can create a custom platter of sashimi. I watched them cut and prepare the sushi… the fish looked gorgeous… my darling! In a former life I was known as “sushiweakness” and once again I was having one of those moments.

Happiness to see me.
Happiness to see me.

In the photos you can see the sashimi. It was one unforgettable lunch. I’m not sure how to say this without ruffling feathers, but I dare suggest it would give the fish at Morimoto just about 10 minutes away a run for the money.

Yes, I do realize I was eating a gourmet lunch out of a plastic container. Oh, the drama! When it comes to satiating one’s cravings, however, these minor details are foggy and irrelevant. On this day I was in sushi paradise.

Kanaloa Market. Fans of fresh fish: do not miss it!
Kanaloa Market. Fans of fresh fish: do not miss it!
Kevin does his thing - is there anything better than watching savory fresh fish prepared before your very eyes?
Kevin does his thing – is there anything better than watching savory fresh fish prepared before your very eyes?
"sushiweakness" strikes again.
“sushiweakness” strikes again.

Napa Farmers Market

Also if you’re in town on Tuesday or Saturday be sure to stop by the Oxbow parking lot for the annual Napa Farmers Market. The 2011 season just opened, and it runs until October (7:30am to noon).

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  • Debra

    Thank you for your wonderful write up of Oxbow Public Market and of course the Sushi weakness we supplied you with love from Kanaloa Seafood Market. We love to read and learn so much from all that you find. Keep on doing it!